Trump's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric 'Not the America We Want': Obama | NBC 10 Philadelphia
Orlando Nightclub Massacre

Orlando Nightclub Massacre

Coverage of the Orlando nightclub massacre, June 12, 2016

Trump's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric 'Not the America We Want': Obama

"If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and implying that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists' work for them"

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    President Obama took presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump to task for proposing a ban on Muslims entering the United States, saying that it played right into ISIL's recruiting tactics. (Published Tuesday, June 14, 2016)

    President Barack Obama on Tuesday delivered a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric, blasting the Republican presidential nominee's immigration proposals as dangerous and "not the America we want." 

    His comments from the Treasury Department come the day after Trump doubled down on his proposal to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from the entering the country.

    Obama argued that antagonizing Muslims would undermine American values and compromise safety by fueling the notion among ISIS that the West hates Muslims.

    "If we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect." Obama said. "And then the terrorists would have won and we cannot let that happen. I will not let that happen."

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    He said the terror group wants a war between Islam and the U.S.

    "They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for ... Islam. That's their propaganda. That's how they recruit," Obama said. "And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and implying that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists' work for them."

    The president pushed back against those who have criticized his decision not to use the phrase "radical Islam."

    "Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction," Obama said.

    Instead, he said, there are ways to protect the Second Amendment while taking "common-sense steps that could reduce gun violence."

    Trump tweeted later in the day, "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."

    Obama called for the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban and said "people who can't get on a plane shouldn't be able to buy a gun." The president also pushed for more resources to enforce existing gun control laws.

    "We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents," he said.

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    Otherwise, Obama warned, "these kinds of events are going to keep happening and the weapons are only going to get more powerful."

    The president also highlighted progress in the fight against ISIS, saying the number of fighters associated with the terror group has reached its lowest point in 2 1/2 years.

    The president said ISIS is losing ground in Syria, Iraq and Libya and that coalition forces have taken out more than 120 leaders and commanders.

    "Our message is clear: If you target America and our allies, you will not be safe," Obama said. "You will never be safe."

    His statement came on the heels of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, in which gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded dozens more at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday.

    Mateen pledged his support to ISIS on the phone with 911, authorities have said, and the massacre is being investigated as an instance of domestic terror.

    The gathering of top officials at the Treasury Department was scheduled before Sunday's mass shooting.

    NBC's Ari Mason contributed to this report.

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